English Language – Teacher Education Project (EL-TEP), is a two-year pilot project implemented by the British Council and National Centre for Educational Development (NCED), the human resource development unit under Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. The project focuses on developing both content and pedagogical knowledge of English language teachers from government schools, teaching grades four to eight.
What we did
To develop project resources at the appropriate level, a baseline study was conducted recently to identify the English language levels of the teachers. 150 teachers from Chitwan, Ramechhap and Dhading districts were tested using the listening, reading, speaking, writing, and grammar and vocabulary components of British Council’s Aptis test. Aptis is a modern and flexible English language proficiency test, designed to meet the diverse needs of organisations and individuals around the world and provides reliable and accurate results about the English skills.
This was the first-time teachers were formally tested on their language skills and they all had mixed feelings of nervousness and excitement.
The project task force analysed the test results together to identify average scores for the pilot and also developed district profiles. These profiles will now be used as a reference point while developing project resources.
Mr.Chiranjibi Poudel, Deputy Director of NCED, appreciated the use of Aptis as part of the project, “As part of our Teacher Professional Development (TPD) programme, it is mandatory that we provide at least 30 days training to our teachers. There are two ways to do this – pedagogical training and training to enhance language and skills. Therefore, this was the first time we used Aptis as a tool to test language abilities of the teachers. We have seen the results and it is quite promising. It has given us an indication of the type and level of training we should provide them. We have so far used this only with existing teachers at a curriculum level. If Aptis could be used during the recruitment of new teachers, it would be really effective.”
Ms. Goma Tamang, English language teacher of Bandevi Basic School in Dhading district said, “Using Aptis as a tool to check the skills of English language teacher was an eye-opening experience. We realised that we need to improve our own English first in order to be better at teaching students. Many teachers like myself who teach English language in community and government schools never had the opportunity to learn English well. In those days, we were taught English from only grade four and we hardly got to practice the different skills like listening and speaking. ”.
Similarly, the project will also use Aptis to check the proficiency levels of all their project trainers.
The use of Aptis to test the levels of the teachers was appreciated both by teachers and the government partners who expressed the need for a similar test to be used across the country. The results have been analysed and will now be used as a basis for the development of all project resources. At the end of the project, the teachers will take all the modules of the exam again and results will then be compared to the baseline to gauge the improvement levels of the teachers.